August 2009

Contact Information:
(775) 852-3483 ext. 425


19 Students Named Davidson Fellows and 

Receive $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 Scholarships

(Washington, D.C.) – With mounting concern about U.S. competitiveness and low student achievement in relation to other countries, conventional wisdom leads many to believe that the great inventors, artists and innovators of the future will come from distant shores. However, 19 young people named as 2009 Davidson Fellows exemplify the extraordinary work that can be achieved by U.S. students who are given opportunities to excel.  

From developing a technique that allows scientists to identify potential bone marrow donors in a fraction of the time and for six percent of the cost of traditional techniques, to researching methods of identifying low-energy paths for spacecraft, the accomplishments of the Davidson Fellows, who range in age from 13 to 17, are a testament to effective teaching and mentoring, supportive families and individual determination. Based on their achievements in the fields of science, technology, mathematics, music, literature, philosophy and “outside the box,” these 19 students will receive $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 scholarships from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Reno, Nev. that supports profoundly gifted youth.  

“We are thrilled to recognize the 2009 Davidson Fellows not only for their incredible projects, but also for the journey they forged to reach this point,” said Bob Davidson, co-founder of the Davidson Institute. “Each year the breadth and depth of Fellows’ accomplishments overwhelm us. With nurturing, gifted students will be among those who will solve the world’s most vexing problems, now and in the future.”

The 2009 Davidson Fellows have accomplished important work in a variety of subjects, such as:

  • Designing computer simulations to determine how various patterns affect an epidemic’s spread across a social network;
  • Researching a molecular mechanism showed to influence breast cancer cell proliferation and migration;
  • Celebrating mankind’s best achievements through music;
  • Creating a literary portfolio exploring different facets of distance in writing; and
  • Seeking to make learning a side effect of fun by developing the interactive Elementeo Chemistry Card Game.

Each 2009 Davidson Fellow has worked tirelessly to obtain the resources that enable them to make advances in their fields. Unfortunately, not all gifted students get the support they need according to the Fordham Institute’s study, “High Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB.” The findings show that top pupils have “languished” academically. In addition, a national teacher survey found that while most teachers believe all students deserve equal attention, advanced pupils are a lower priority in their schools, receiving dramatically less attention than low-achievers.

“Our goal is to not have any student left behind,” said Jan Davidson, Ph.D., co-founder of the Davidson Institute. “We applaud the tenacity of these and other profoundly gifted children, who often take it upon themselves to gather the resources they need to succeed.”

In addition to starting the Davidson Institute in 1999, Bob and Jan Davidson are co-authors, with Laura Vanderkam, of Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds ( In 2006 the Davidsons opened The Davidson Academy of Nevada, a free, public school for profoundly gifted students on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno ( For more information on the Davidson Institute, or to learn more about the 2009 Davidson Fellows, please visit

2009 Davidson Fellow Laureates

$50,000 Scholarships

  • Miss Melody Lindsay, 17, Honolulu, Hawaii; Harping Around the World: Cultural Leadership for the 21st Century
  • Miss Nicole Rhodes, 17, Vancouver, Wash.; The Dictionary of Distance
  • Mr. Eric Sherman, 15, Ephrata, Pa.; Computer Analysis of the HLA Histocompatibility Complex: Identification of Bone Marrow Donor Matches

2009 Davidson Fellows

$25,000 Scholarships

  • Miss Erika DeBenedictis, 17, Albuquerque, N.M.; Space Mission Design
  • Mr. Nolan Kamitaki, 17, Hilo, Hawaii; Programming a Network Approach to Contain the Spread of Epidemic
  • Mr. Jason Karelis, 17, East Setauket, N.Y.; Mechanistic Studies of MenD, a Novel Drug Target for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • Miss Amy Levine, 17, Gaithersburg, Md.; Grayscale Unraveled
  • Miss Y. Dana Neugut, Teaneck, N.J.; A Study of Arsenic Metabolism & Renal Function in an Arsenic-Exposed Population in Bangladesh
  • Miss Allison Ross, 16, Mercer Island, Wash.; African and Western Heroes' Journeys in Literature: An Exemplication

  • Mr. Anshul Samar, 15, Cupertino, Calif.; Igniting Interest in Chemistry with Elementeo Chemistry Card Game

  • Mr. Roman Stolyarov, 17, Addison, Texas; Fabrication and Characterization of an All-Glass Visible Omnidirectional Dielectric Mirror
  • Miss Doreen Xu, 16, Indianapolis, Ind.; The Roots of Evil
  • Miss Sarina Zhang, 13, San Diego, Calif.; Reaching Out to the World with the Magic of Music

$10,000 Scholarships

  • Miss Connie Kim-Sheng, 17, La Crescenta, Calif.; Inspired by Beauty: Piano Masterworks
  • Mr. Prithwis Mukhopadhyay, 16, Woodbury, Minn.; A Common Food Additive Induces Cell Migration and Neoplastic Phenotype by Decreasing ASB Activity
  • Mr. Aditya Palepu, 17, Oakton, Va.; A Heterogeneous Mixture Model for Unsupervised Pattern Classification
  • Mr. Rahul Pandey, 17, Rochester, Mich.; A Microwave Metamaterial Lens with Negative Index of Refraction
  • Miss Fiona Wood, 17, North Haven, Conn.; Biophysically Realistic Computational Models of Temporal Encoding in Cortex
  • Mr. Darren Zhu, 17, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Synthesis & Characterization of Self-Assembled Monolayers of Isocyanides on Ferromagnetic Thin Films


Click here to visit the Davidson Fellows Press Room.


Davidson Institute for Talent Development
9665 Gateway Drive, Suite B
Reno, Nevada 89521
Fax: 775-852-2184